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Mark D. White
I'm chair of the Department of Philosophy at the College of Staten Island, where I teach and write in the intersections between economics, philosophy, and law.
Recent Activity
The couple months since my last update have been uneventful personally (although, of course, not for the world in general). In fact, the last two months have been fairly routine for me, definitely in the negative sense of the word (but unfortunately without the benefits of routine in the positive... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2017 at Mark D. White
In the midst of the state of the country (and the world) at the moment, it seems a bit indulgent to blog about my activities over the month. But the work must continue. Since returning from the ASSA conference early this month (an experience recounted in my last post), I've... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2017 at Mark D. White
My ASSA experience this year in Chicago was less hectic but no less enjoyable than conferences past, this one more focused on reconnecting with distant friends and colleagues and re-establishing ties than hearing or presenting research. I did not present a paper this year, and I went to fewer sessions... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Mark D. White
Mark D. White On behalf of Geoff Sayre-McCord, UNC Chapel Hill is currently searching for an associate or full professor in work in its PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) program: The Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is seeking to appoint a tenured Associate or Professor to begin July 1, 2017 (although start date is negotiable). This person would be a core faculty member in our thriving Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, and would be expected to contribute substantially to that program. AOS: Moral and Political Philosophy,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Economics and Ethics
“PRIZES AND VIRTUES: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY WORKSHOP” LUMSA University, Rome – April 10-11, 2017 To an economist, a prize, such as a golden medal, is merely a special type of incentive. Any other kind of social scientist would be perplexed by thinking of the Nobel Prize, or of the Medal of Honour, in these terms. In contemporary neoclassical economics, the concept of incentive is a primitive, similar to that of “utility”, “price”, “production” or “consumption”, that all economists use but none feels the need to define: it is a foundation, or a corner stone, of the science of economics. However, if... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2017 at Economics and Ethics
As I've done the last couple years, I'm summarizing the year's activities and looking ahead to the next year, along with some general impressions and reflections. If you've read my occasional personal updates this year, you know it's been a strange year, with a very productive and exciting first half,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2016 at Mark D. White
Mark D. White Upon generous invitation, earlier this month I helped launch a conversation at Cato Unbound regarding whether or to what extent Immanuel Kant can or should be regarded as a classical liberal. The entire discussion can be found here, starting with my lead article in defense of Kant as a classical liberal, followed by critical responses from Gregory Salmieri, Stephen R. C. Hicks, and Roderick T. Long, followed by my response to all three comments and further discussion (still continuing through the end of the month. Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at Economics and Ethics
I was tempted to stop these updates, as I promised earlier. Yet, they do seem to serve some purpose, even if only for reflection, so we keep on keeping on... (For someone making better use of this than I, see here.) Surveying my last two updates (April and June), which... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2016 at Mark D. White
Well those were two interesting months, filled with writing, editing, book promotion, and a brief hospitalization. Some very good moments as well as some very bad ones... but a bit too tempestuous for my tastes. (Serenity now!) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Let's get the nasty stuff over with... just... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at Mark D. White
Wow, people haven't been this angry about a Captain America book since he was killed in 2007. And understandably so, because in today's Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, something even worse happens to the Sentinel of Liberty: he is revealed at the end of the comic to be a Hydra... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2016 at The Comics Professor
My pleasure, and sure thing -- my email is if it's easier.
Yes, the UN peacekeeping forces are only sent out when the UN can agree to -- and that's what Steve doesn't want (whether or not that's what Ross meant). Yeah, Steve could have done signed on and saw what happened -- if he were that pragmatic. ;) But he disagreed in principle, so he couldn't sign, simple as that. No one's judgment is perfect, but someone has to make the decision, and Steve feels he's better suited and placed to make that decision that UN political bureaucrats. Sure, I would have liked more talking too (as I said in my post), but the fight were terrific! :)
Oh, cool (last part) -- no, not a nuisance at all. I know, I'm the same way about utilitarianism, but with Sokovia in particular, anyone who died in the aftermath would certainly have died had Ultron succeeded, no real costs to the Avengers' intervention (once Ultron began his plan). Never thought about Tony and Ultron, though -- maybe no one in authority knew? C'mon, man -- it's the UN. Wherever the Avengers want to go, some country is going to have problems with it, and if they don't have direct say, they would find a way to influence the committee. I can't even imagine how such a committee would be formed (when known human rights violators get on human rights committees). Like I said, oversight is fine, but only after the fact (accountability) -- I think the public would have no other choice than to trust the Avengers to do the right thing ex ante.
With all due respect to the king, the Accords are a political document and can only be implemented politically -- there's no way to separate them. I'd have to watch again to hear exactly what Ross says, but I was pretty sure he said the Avengers could only operate when given permission by the UN committee implementing it. As Ross does say before he lists their most catastrophic exploits (this I do remember), the Avengers saved the world numerous times -- surely, if people thought about it, that would outweigh any relatively minor collateral damage (as cold as that sounds). (Unless you buy Vision's argument that they attract the threats they're forced to fight, which I'm not comfortable with.)
OK, but I do like stories in which the fallout and consequences from superhero activity is shown and dealt with. I wrote an entire book about such a story in the comics. ;)
That's hard to answer -- there aren't superpowered beings in the real world. But if they were, I think we should trust them to do the right thing until they violated that trust, and then decide what to do. Oversight and accountability can exist without the extreme version in the Sokovia Accords, where the UN tells them when thy can act and when they can't. They could be regulated more like police than military, so they can act on their own and account for it afterwards.
Not really -- they did the best they could, and saving everyone in the airborne city (where they were) was admirable, even though people died on the ground, which of course is tragic and unfortunate. But if they'd done nothing, imagine how many people would have lost their lives. (And I don't know what you mean by preferring a "classic" take on the team, but that's OK.)
I think Cap's point in the movie is just that he doesn't want any governmental body tying his or the other Avengers' hands when people need their help. And I think this is even more of an issue in the context of the UN than any national government, given the way the UN is run. (Ironically, the Avengers served under the UN for decades in the comics, with only a few incidents -- but in the comics, the UN never tied their hands in any way even close to what Ross said in the movie.)
It's been an exciting couple of weeks around the release of Captain America: Civil War, with several articles, interviews, and a review of my book A Philosopher Reads... Marvel Comics' Civil War appearing online. I collect them all on the dedicated page for the book at, but I thought... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2016 at The Comics Professor
OK, no surprise... I loved Captain America: Civil War. I was fairly certain I'd like it, of course, but it surpassed my expectations, which were well heightened by all the positive comments from everyone who saw it before me. (And that seems to be everyone I know. I will have... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2016 at The Comics Professor
Mark D. White From the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Society, an announcement and call: We are planning our first stand-alone PPE Society Meeting for March 17-19 2017 in New Orleans. With that event in mind we are now doing a CALL FOR PROPOSALS and SUBMISSIONS. On the proposals side, if you have ideas for panels, or speakers, that you would like to organize, please write up the proposal, with a justification articulating its relevance to PPE, and submit it using the form below. On the submissions side, if you have a paper you would like to present, please write... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2016 at Economics and Ethics
At long last, today is the release day for A Philosopher Reads... Marvel Comics' Civil War: Exploring the Moral Judgment of Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, published by Ockham Publishing in both paperback and ebook. Comic book readers and moviegoers love to see superheroes fight, whether to protect innocent... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2016 at The Comics Professor
Wow, this has been a wild month (not even a month, actually), both Invigorating and exhausting, leaving me feeling in a very different place than I was when it began. Most important, A Philosopher Reads... Marvel Comics' Civil War comes out today, and I've been very lucky to have gotten... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2016 at Mark D. White
I saw Batman v Superman last Thursday, and meant to get a post up more quickly, but it took me this long to digest all the Snyder-y goodness packed into those two-and-a-half hours of sheer cinematic bludgeoning. Let me list some of things I loved about this movie (there may... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2016 at The Comics Professor
Today doesn't seem to be a very productive one, so I'll take a moment to let you in a few big things happening around here. First... you may have noticed that my book A Philosopher Reads Marvel Comics' Civil War was taken down from Amazon Kindle Direct. There is a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2016 at Mark D. White